KPD Investigating Carjacking, Officer Involved Shooting

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - First there was a car jacking, then a police pursuit and a shooting. Now three Knoxville Police officers are recovering and the man police say is behind the trouble is critically injured.

During an eight minute police pursuit following a carjacking early Monday morning, Knoxville police say 23-year-old Endia Puckett injured three KPD officers.

It all started after 23-year-old Alan Ayala was assaulted during a carjacking.

Police say Puckett beat him while stealing his KIA Sophia. Cops spotted him and gave chase.

It ended near Heiskell Road and I-275. KPD says Sgt Gordon Gwathney fired at Puckett after Puckett tried to run him down. Puckett was hit, and crashed into a parked car. So far, investigators say officers involved in the shooting did the right thing.

"The officer had no option but to fire his service weapons to protect his life and the lives of the other officers," says KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

Still, KPD is conducting two investigations.

"One is the criminal investigation division that's conducting an investigation into everything that happened. We also have our internal affairs unit that's conducting an investigation into the conduct and the actions of the officers," says DeBusk.

Three officers are recovering at home after injuries caused by the accident. Sgt. Gwathney suffered leg injuries, Officer Terry Pate is suffering from leg injuries and a concussion, and Officer James Campbell suffered a cut to his face.

Puckett's listed in critical condition. This isn't the first time he's been in trouble with the law.

According to records we obtained, Puckett has an extensive criminal history including: evading arrest, reckless driving, theft, possession of a prohibited weapon and numerous driving related charges.

KPD also has two outstanding warrants on file for Puckett's arrest for 'failure to appear' and for 'violation of probation'.

The three officers, along with another officer involved, who wasn't injured, Bob Maxwell, have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

That's standard operating procedure for an officer involved shooting.


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